DAP calls for local council elections before general elections

Speech by DAP Organising Secretary, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, to members and supporters of the DAP at Puchong, 14m.s. on Wednesday, January 22, 1969 at 5p.m.

For four years, the Alliance government has frozen grassroots democracy by suspending local council elections. The reason is that the Alliance is afraid that the opposition will capture many of the town and local councils and demonstrate its ability to produce a dynamic, clean honest and effective administration.

The Alliance is afraid that if the opposition is allowed to do this, then the opposition will be securing a firm base for greater victories in the Parliamentary and State general elections.

In other words, the Alliance have put its party interest above national interests. The same considerations govern its amendment of the Malaysian Constitution to suspend by-election in Salak and in Penang, because it feared that the opposition will win.

We know that the Alliance government is seriously considering doing away with elected councils altogether, or having a mixed system of elected and nominated councilors, to ensure that the Alliance government can nominate its stooges and reward its puppets.

I hope the government will give up this notion to put back the clock of democracy. All over the world, countries progress from nominated bodies to elected bodies. But in Malaysia, the Alliance is seriously considering of reversing the process of going backwards!

When local council elections were suspended in March 1965, the Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, gave a categorical assurance and promise to the Parliament and the nation that once peace conditions have been restored, local council elections would be held.

In the event, peace with Indonesia had been restored for more than three years, but local council elections are still suspended. To find an excuse to justify the continued suspension of local council elections, the government has thought up a Commission of Inquiry, headed by the MIC Vice President, Athi Nahappan who did his job splendidly by dragging on with his work for three years.

It is now announced that the Athi Nahappan Report will be presented to the government on January 29. I hope that the farce of the Asis Teaching Inquiry Report will not be repeated here Minister of Local Government and housing. Mr.Khaw Khai Boh, won’t announce in the press that the entire government had only one copy of the report.

The Athi Nahappan Report should be made public within a fortnight of it presentation, and should not be kept in the archives to collect dust.

The DAP calls for the immediate holding of local and town council elections, to renew the people’s mandate. These elections should be held before the Parliamentary and State general elections, and not during or after the general elections, as some Alliance leaders are known to be in favour of.

The Alliance should stop fooling around with our democratic process, and put themselves in the hands of the local council voters to decide as to whether they want the Alliance to run the local councils, or they want the Opposition.